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Old 01-28-2018, 03:29 PM
 
Location: From Sunny Honolulu to Rainy Puget Sound Area
361 posts, read 228,270 times
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I just recently came back from a one week trip to visit my girlfriend and to meet her parents and siblings.
We have been chatting via FB Messenger for about three months. Introduced to me by my mom's friend (my mom is Korean, but one of her friends is Filipina).

This was also my first time visiting the Philippines and visiting a country besides Canada or South Korea. LOL.

I was amazed by how decent some parts of Manila were. Other parts looked really run-down and ghetto. I don't know which part of Manila it was. But when we were driving away from the airport, we passed by this area that looked run down, dirty, with dilapidated buildings.

I also did not realize how BIG the country is! On the map, the Philippines, or the main island that consists of Illocos, Luzon looks small. But oh boy, it took almost SIX hours to drive from NAIA airport to the northern parts of La Union. Luckily there were gas stations along the way to take a **** break.

I stayed with her family who lives out in the Illocos region of La Union.

Likes: The food and cost of food were decent. People were friendly. Parents of my girlfriend were nice (but seemed a little distant / cold).

The weather was nice. Nice and sunny! Reminded me of Hawaii's weather. The weather in northern Philippines was a big contrast to the dismal gray skies and chilly weather of the Seattle area.

The electricity outlets were usable for my 110V phone chargers from the US. Unlike in South Korea where I always have had to use a converter because Korea uses the 220V system with different outlets.

I was also really amazed by how tight-knit family members and siblings are in the Philippines. Here in the US, you have brothers and sisters who hate each other's gut. I myself, although from an Asian family, have a younger sister who hardly keeps in touch with me because she thinks that she's living a good life and pretend that she has chips on her shoulder. I've notice this trend with a lot of American families. But in the PH, my GF and her older sister still hang out together, and the older sister, although not married, still stops by the family house to say hi and to even sleep over at times. GF also has an older brother who also some times lives at home and helps parents out by driving them to the mall for shopping needs.
Here in the US, you ask? Complete opposite. Yes, I'm sure there are American families who are also tight-knit. But most American families...they believe that once you hit 18 years of age, you're out of the house. You live on your own. You live in a separate apartment with your girlfriend, or vice-versa, etc. I don't know how to truly explain, maybe some of you guys here who have experienced both US/American and Filipino culture can do a better explanation than I can. S Korea also has this family tightness mentality, but slowly eroding due to western mentality slowly seeping in Korea. In the PH, you can still see families, neighbors and relatives gathering in the garage for beer and Karaoke "Video-oke" singing for celebrations, birthday parties, etc. You rarely see that kind of gathering amongst family members here in the US/N. America.

I also saw a lot of interesting farmland in La Union and also in parts of Illocos Sur region. There are plenty of corn fields. I did not know that corn was a main staple of the PH. There were also Okra crops, and crops that looked like Tobacco plants. Kind of like rural farmlands that I have seen when visiting S. Korea in the past.



Dislikes: The houses and buildings in the outer parts of the the Philippines, they look really old and run-down. The fences are rusted, buildings are made of bricks, but the bricks look cracked, and many of the houses aren't even painted.
I even saw properties with unfinished houses. Houses that were partially made, but lacked a roof, or several walls. For those of you who have visited the rural parts of the PH....you know what I'm talking about.


In the neighborhoods, dogs were roaming around the streets. Some even just slept on the streets during the night time as if the dog owned the street. My GF's dad had to honk his horn several time to get this sleeping dog to get up, as it was sleeping in the middle of the roadway. Big contrast to here in the US where if you let your dog roam the streets, the police can cite you for not keeping your pet dog on a leash. Not just dogs, but there were some times where I saw goats roaming around the neighborhoods too. The same thing with cats (but cats here in the US also roam around the neighborhood).

The roads in the country side were very very very narrow. Did I say narrow?
Wow, I was amazed at my GF's dad for maneuvering his minivan several times just to make a turn into another narrow lane roadway. Same with her brother's driving skills. I don't know other parts of the PH, but in La Union, San Fernando area, the streets in the neighborhoods are super narrow!


Public Bathrooms/restrooms. NO running water in the bathroom sinks! However, if I did go to a bathroom in one of bigger malls, there was running water, but NO liquid handsoap next to the sink. If there was a soap dispenser, there were NO soap in the dispenser. Next time, I will definitely carry a small bottle of Purrell or hand sanitizer with me. There were also not enough toilets to take a crap at NAIA airport, Terminal 1 (I will talk about the airport NAIA a little later)

The zoo in Baluarte. So damn small! I don't know if the zoo lacked funding. It would be good if they CHARGED an entrance fee to visitors. My GF told me that there is no entry fee to the zoo. At least the small zoo in Baluarte area. Getting back to the zoo, there were no signs in front of the animal cages. And the restrooms! ewww!!! Toilets with no running water, and the sinks with no running water or soap. The animal show was great. There are even small shows where volunteers are asked to come up to the front to have an animal placed on your arm or shoulder. So that experience made my visit to the zoo a good one (despite me having to **** in smelly toilet stalls).

Although the Philippines is also an English-speaking country, it seemed that if you spoke English to the workers at the store, the convenient store, or at the mall when doing transaction or simply asking a question for direction, they seem to view you differently because they know that you're a foreigner. Then some of them ask if I'm Chinese, in which I have to correct some of them stating that I'm ethnic Korean and mixed with some Japanese, but from the US. Then some of the locals knew that I'm Korean, but think that I'm from S. Korea trying to learn English in the PH. Oh well, every country has their own xenophobia.

Driving! Oh my goodness! I thought Korea had really mean and bad drivers. I watched by GF's dad and her older brother drive along the highway. The highways in rural PH are only two laned highways, one way for each lane. When my GF's dad drove his truck and approached a slow-traveling tricycle on the roadway, he would pass the tricycle in the opposite direction lane and quickly merge back into the original lane. He also did this on some occasion where there were vehicles in the distant but approaching in the opposite direction. Drivers also don't stop for pedestrians trying to cross the street. If that happened here in the US, the police would cite you for not stopping for pedestrians in the crosswalk.


All in all, my experience was awesome. I cannot wait to go back to visit her and her family again. My GF's younger brother is getting married in May. I hope that we are the next in line to tie the knot.

Speaking of marriage, did anybody here go through the paperwork process for the US Fiance K-1 Visa?

Last edited by SunAndRain808; 01-28-2018 at 03:53 PM..
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Old 01-28-2018, 07:09 PM
 
Location: Howard County, Maryland
5,683 posts, read 3,653,594 times
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You said you loved it there in the Philippines, but other than the weather and the tight-knit families, you didn't say anything that you liked about it. So, what else did you like about it?
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Old 01-28-2018, 11:38 PM
 
Location: Macao
15,947 posts, read 36,185,822 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SunAndRain808 View Post
I was also really amazed by how tight-knit family members and siblings are in the Philippines. Here in the US, you have brothers and sisters who hate each other's gut. I myself, although from an Asian family, have a younger sister who hardly keeps in touch with me because she thinks that she's living a good life and pretend that she has chips on her shoulder. I've notice this trend with a lot of American families. But in the PH, my GF and her older sister still hang out together, and the older sister, although not married, still stops by the family house to say hi and to even sleep over at times. GF also has an older brother who also some times lives at home and helps parents out by driving them to the mall for shopping needs.
Another big cultural difference. In the U.S., parents provide for kids....the culture dictates that in the U.S., when you bring a kid in the world, you are somewhat responsible for them for life, financially. American parents sometimes help out their kids financially, at all kinds of different points in their life.

In the Philippines its the opposite. That means that Filipinos have kids with the idea that kids are RESPONSIBLE for their PARENTS for LIFE. It also means that anyone in the family who gets any money at all, is responsible for the entire family. They don't save that for their future - they send that to others to spend in the Philippines. They believe that when they have kids - those same kids will be slaving away for them, when they grow old, in the same way.

Cities like Hong Kong, Dubai, Singapore, you name it...is absolutely FILLED with Filipinas working 6-day 24-hour a day jobs, sending back their monthly salaries back to their parents (and/or their kids they left in the Philippines to work abroad).

I'm saying this because when a Filipina marries a foreigner, pretty much the entire family is looking at you as a money source. Just something to be aware of....as you contemplate some of these huge cultural differences.

If while you were in the Philippines, if anyone was waiting you for you to buy all the food or drinks or 'the pig (lechon)' or whatever else for 20+ people... it's just a small sign of things to come. Not all Filipina families are like this, but culturally, those are the cultural norms. Try to see if these are the cultural norms of your Filipina fiance as well. If they are, avoid her, as there are a hundred million other Filipinas just as quick to jump at a chance to marry a foreigner - so it's not like the opportunity to marry another sweet/kind/nice Filipina wouldn't ever come again.
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Old 01-28-2018, 11:41 PM
 
661 posts, read 585,148 times
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Filipinos are great people, but they are VERY family oriented. Did you ever talk to your fiancé about what type of commitment you would be asked to make financially after you marry her to her family? I'm not saying that there's like a charge or fee to marry your fiancé, but I have many American buddies who have lived in Asia and ended up marrying Filipino girls. Great hard working and loving wives, but each of them have paid something financially to their wife's family. Maybe its buying an inexpensive condo (Say 100k USD) in her hometown or village in the Philippines, or making monthly small gifts of cash to her family to help support them.


I'm just saying, and not to rain on your happy times, but I would think about what financial obligations you will face after your married, because I can tell you its going to happen.


Best of luck with everything. Filipinos are great people. Really good hearts, but it is a developing country.
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Old 01-28-2018, 11:43 PM
 
661 posts, read 585,148 times
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HAHA Tiger Beer. You beat me by 3 minutes. Great minds huh
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Old 01-29-2018, 02:49 AM
 
2,015 posts, read 1,198,872 times
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The difference in a Filipina woman, and a Thai woman:
When you are down to your last Dollar, the Thai woman wants nothing to do with you;
the filipina thinks it's a good time to start a family.

Some pretty good cigars in the Philippines. Pretty cheap. Tabaqueria de Filipinas – Fine Philippine Cigars
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Old 01-29-2018, 04:11 AM
 
1,099 posts, read 1,670,934 times
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As others already mentioned, the #1 contention with Filipino-foreigner marriages is what the foreigner pays for. The more people's meals you had to pay for in your visit (aside that of yourself, your gf or the ones who drove/served you), the bigger the red flag is that there is probably more expenses to come. However, if your gf's family owns and drives their own minivans and other vehicles, and that they went all the way to NAIA to pick you up, it's already a good sign for you.

If you just visited La Union and the neighboring areas, it's not really representative of the Philippines as a whole. The Philippines is not at all big. Luzon is smaller than the state of Washington. It is however almost the same size and as populated as South Korea. From NAIA to La Union is only like 300 kilometers (around 180 miles), but it takes 6 hours because the highway is more like a local road by US standards.

Also, the cities in the Ilocos Region are small by Philippine standards, so it's a bit more rural than most other places. The settlements are also older. In fact, Vigan boasts a row of houses from the Spanish era, which can no longer be found elsewhere in the country. Some observations you have are still applicable to other places, like roads are really narrow by US standards. In rural La Union, people speak Ilocano to the locals, then Tagalog (or sometimes Pangasinan or Kapampangan) to other Filipinos, then English to foreigners. It's not everyday that a foreigner goes there. But if you're in Makati, BGC or in the beach resorts of Cebu or Boracay, no one bats an eye if one speaks English. One can even hear locals speaking English to each other because the server forgot to code switch to the local language.
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Old 01-29-2018, 06:56 AM
 
4,665 posts, read 2,643,151 times
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I just want to reply to a couple parts since the other responses are enough. The reason for all the partly constructed buildings is because people can’t get loans to finance construction, so they build the structure as cash comes in. Sometimes something will happen and the building will be abandoned, but typically it can take 5-10 years (or longer) for even a smaller building to be completed.

Many things are just different in developing and poor countries, if the Zoo charged an entrance fee, few locals could afford to go. When a Zoo has no income besides a small allowance from the government in a poor country, it’s not surprising that it’s not well maintained.

You just have to remember, the Philippines is a poor country, try to think from their perspective. Be careful not to get in a bad situation.
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Old 01-29-2018, 10:31 AM
 
27 posts, read 12,181 times
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Nice write-up. And I agree with you about American culture. Here in America everything is about money and materialism first and everything else either doesn't matter or is secondary. Americans may have lots of money and cool toys but most have empty boring lives because they have little to no friends and family and just sit rotting away in front of a TV if they're not working.
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Old 01-29-2018, 10:39 AM
 
Location: California
4,556 posts, read 5,474,724 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiger Beer View Post
Another big cultural difference. In the U.S., parents provide for kids....the culture dictates that in the U.S., when you bring a kid in the world, you are somewhat responsible for them for life, financially. American parents sometimes help out their kids financially, at all kinds of different points in their life.

In the Philippines its the opposite. That means that Filipinos have kids with the idea that kids are RESPONSIBLE for their PARENTS for LIFE. It also means that anyone in the family who gets any money at all, is responsible for the entire family. They don't save that for their future - they send that to others to spend in the Philippines. They believe that when they have kids - those same kids will be slaving away for them, when they grow old, in the same way.

Cities like Hong Kong, Dubai, Singapore, you name it...is absolutely FILLED with Filipinas working 6-day 24-hour a day jobs, sending back their monthly salaries back to their parents (and/or their kids they left in the Philippines to work abroad).

I'm saying this because when a Filipina marries a foreigner, pretty much the entire family is looking at you as a money source. Just something to be aware of....as you contemplate some of these huge cultural differences.

If while you were in the Philippines, if anyone was waiting you for you to buy all the food or drinks or 'the pig (lechon)' or whatever else for 20+ people... it's just a small sign of things to come. Not all Filipina families are like this, but culturally, those are the cultural norms. Try to see if these are the cultural norms of your Filipina fiance as well. If they are, avoid her, as there are a hundred million other Filipinas just as quick to jump at a chance to marry a foreigner - so it's not like the opportunity to marry another sweet/kind/nice Filipina wouldn't ever come again.
My friend's son made that mistake also so I totally support your post as it proved to be true. Once that girl put her feet on U.S. ground, she began making plans to bring her family and wanted them to move into my friend's house since they left their home. When my friend became a widow, they really increased the pressure on her to take over her home. She moved in someone she wanted to a spare bedroom so as not to have any available space for the unwanted foreigners. They all presumed that she should share her wealth with them as they like American dollars. There was no respect for American culture or the hard work my friend and her husband did to have a nice house. The son now has two children with that girl and they repeat their hatred for Americans often.
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